Walmart will adapt to what is shaping up to be an extended holiday season by spreading out its Black Friday promotions across three events that will span most of November. All three sales will encompass both ecommerce and brick-and-mortar purchases, and Walmart will let shoppers collect Black Friday orders via curbside pickup for the first time.
The first Black Friday Deals for Days event will begin online Nov. 4 and add new in-store deals on Nov. 7, with an emphasis on toys, electronics and home products. The promotion will coincide with Walmart’s annual Tire Event, which runs Nov. 7 to 13.
The second phase will launch online on Nov. 11 and add new in-store deals on Nov. 14, this time emphasizing electronics, movies, music and certain items in apparel, home and other categories. Nov. 14 also will mark the launch of a wireless phone event.
The third and final phase will begin online Nov. 25 with new in-store deals Nov. 27, adding additional promotions on electronics, toys and gifts across apparel and home as well as seasonal décor. This month of Black Friday promotions is a reflection of an uncertain year and a significantly longer holiday season than retailers usually experience.
“Walmart’s announcement that it was holding three separate ‘Black Friday’ events in November demonstrates the creativity that retailers will find necessary to manage through what will be the most ‘unique’ holiday season in memory,” said Charlie O’Shea, Retail Analyst at Moody’s in commentary provided to Retail TouchPoints. “In addition, the delay in Amazon’s Prime Day promotion has pushed back the usual competing events that normally occur in earnest during the summer, with the end result [that] Prime Day is effectively serving to ‘kick start’ this holiday season in mid-October, turning what is typically a marathon season into a much longer race.”
Walmart will open its stores at 5 a.m. during the Black Friday in-store event days. Traffic will be metered during all three events to ensure proper social distancing, and as a further precaution associates will hand out sanitized shopping carts and remind shoppers to wear masks. The retailer will further manage traffic concerns by remaining closed on Thanksgiving day.
“We’ve been very thoughtful as we planned this year’s event,” said Scott McCall, EVP and Chief Merchandising Officer for Walmart U.S. in a statement. “By spreading deals out across multiple days and making our hottest deals available online, we expect the Black Friday experience in our stores will be safer and more manageable for both our customers and our associates.”